Published on October 26th, 2015 | by Greg Dillon0
Jura Whisky and Beer Pairing at The Gallery, West Hampstead
It had been a while since two things happened: 1) I had ventured to West Hampstead and 2) I had sampled the Jura range. Neither for any particular reason other than the age old excuse of being busy. So when a Jura, beer and food tasting at The Gallery popped into the inbox I quite literally jumped at the chance to do several things I love at once.
The Gallery is a superb bar and restaurant in West Hampstead with a healthy selection of craft beers, gins and an impressive collection of around 100 whiskies on the back bar, meaning there is not only something for everyone but many things for everyone.
The event this evening was held in their basement bar, at atmospheric bare-bricked cave with just the right mix of lighting and unmatched furniture for it to work perfectly. Around twenty people came along for this, their inaugural whisky pairing evening that was co-hosted by Daniel, The Gallery’s bar manager and all-round lovely guy and Rishi, the ambassador for the Jura range and an equally lovely guy who I have had the good fortune to have met a few times at events over the years.
Daniel welcomed us all to the evening by explaining that he wanted it to be interactive, hands-on and all about enjoying the drinks we were about to enjoy, not to labour over tasting notes and whatnot as he was more interested in seeing if the drink pairings and food accompaniments worked as well for us as they did for him.
After Rishi’s impromptu wardrobe change from ‘suave Dalmore gentleman’ to ‘fun times Jura’, almost reminiscent of 90’s film The Full Monty, his energy and passion for the Jura brand and products came to life as he told us about the island, the people, the volume of stags per person on the island and took us through the first whisky, Jura Origin.
Origin, a 10 Year Old single malt and the entry level whisky in the Jura range was paired with Hopf Helle Weiss beer and, looking back, this was arguably the best pairing of the night as together they created an amazing honey note that evolved into something quite moreish and enjoyable without being overburdening on the palate. This was paired with a scallop served in a quail’s egg that, whilst awkward to eat, was incredible.
Moving on to pairing two, Jura Superstition with Dunkel Lager. We were told about hilarious superstitions that people hold on to on Jura such as entering rooms with their right foot and only cutting peat at certain times of the year for no other reason than the fear of bad stuff happening. The nose of the Jura brought about sweet peat and toffee in abundance that paired really well with the Dunkel Lager’s smokey molasses nose to create a wave of smoke that practically hugged each of us. This was paired with Superstition cured salmon on rye with wasabi mayo, lovely.
Pairing three brought to life Durach’s Own, the whisky of the Jura people, aged for 14 years in ex-Bourbon casks then finished in ex-Olorosso sherry casks for two years to give a fuller body, richer in texture and depth than the first two. Paired with Camden Town Indian Hells Lager to form a light but punchy nose with a fruity nose underpinned with the warmth of the Durach’s Own. The whisky and beer worked really well in isolation but I did not get this pair as much as others did, I definitely felt pairing one and two worked better.
Then the finale, Jura Prophecy with all its honey, sweetness and notes of hard candy having been aged in limousin brandy casks and holding the same ppm level as Laphroaig. The beer pairing here was weird. Really weird. But wonderful at the same time.
Cantillion Kriek Belgian beer with its incredibly sour cherry notes giving a sharp punch to the face but when enjoyed together the sharpness of the Belgian her cut through the peaty whisky to deliver something very interesting.
The next Whisky 101 masterclass will take place in January. Thanks to The Gallery and Jura for putting on a great night with lots of engaging stories and two great hosts.
The Gallery, 190 Broadhurst Gardens, NW6 3AYShare This Post